Updated: Jan 29, 2015 1:04 pm Eastern Standard Time (GMT -05:00)
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Thursday, Jan 29, 2015

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Battlefield Hardline Open Beta Next Week

Electronic Arts announces the promised open beta test of Battlefield Hardline will run from February 3-8*, offering all interested gamers access to Visceral Games' law enforcement shooter on Windows via Origin, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, and Xbox 360. "There’s nothing more valuable to our team than the relationship we have with our community. Their passion feeds our passion and their feedback has definitely helped make Hardline a better game," said Steve Papoutsis, General Manager of Visceral Games and Executive Producer of Battlefield Hardline. "We want them to play the hell out of the beta next week and trust that they’ll keep that feedback coming so we can continue to fine tune the game." They offer a look at the game and some exhaustive exposition in a new beta trailer, and here's word on next month's testing:

Battlefield Hardline builds on the foundation of the franchise’s signature multiplayer experience focused on team play and strategy and adds a new dimension of speed, making it the fastest Battlefield game ever. The open beta will feature three different maps and modes highlighting this cops and criminals fantasy world. The all-new Hotwire mode brings high-speed chases to the battlefield, as the criminals attempt to steal a list of marked cars while the cops try to repossess them. Available on two maps in the beta, Downtown and Dust Bowl, success in Hotwire will be predicated on teamwork and precision driving. Players can also experience the Battlefield franchise’s signature mode Conquest in Dust Bowl, with epic battles for up to 64 players**. And finally, the beta will also feature Heist, another new mode being introduced in Battlefield Hardline. Playable on the map Bank Job, the mode will pit criminals trying to pull off that big score and break into a bank vault, securing their take at drop off points in the map while a squad of cops work together to stop them.

The Battlefield Hardline beta will also provide access to the full breadth of multiplayer progression in the game, which features fresh new weapons, vehicles, gadgets and gear. Players will have to create new strategies on the battlefield with faster getaway methods like the zipline and muscle cars, or new entry tactics with the grappling hook and non-lethal takedown options like arrests, interrogations and stun guns. On top of all this, the beta will give the first look at another game mode called Hacker. This takes surveillance to the next level as one player on each side can hack the battlefield in different ways including hacking into security cameras, spotting enemies and specifying areas for their team to attack or defend. Hacker mode will be playable on all modes in the beta.

Battlefield Hardline brings the awe-inspiring, only-in-Battlefield destruction moments to LA and Miami in chaotic urban warfare. Powered by the Frostbite™ 3 game engine, Battlefield Hardline delivers an episodic single player campaign that follows rookie Miami Police Detective, Nick Mendoza, through a story of crime and revenge. This is brought to life by a veteran cast of Hollywood acting and writing talent, including Alexandra Daddario from True Detective, Wendy Calhoun from Justified, and Benito Martinez from The Shield.

* The beta will be available February 4-8 in Japan on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3.
** Conquest mode is available for 64 players on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. Conquest mode will have a player cap of 24 on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

Continue here to read the full story.

LEGO Jurassic World & Marvel's Avengers Announced

WBIE, TT Games, and The LEGO Group announce two new additions coming this year to their lineup of PC videogames based on LEGO blocks, revealing development of LEGO Marvel's Avengers and LEGO Jurassic World for Windows as well as some consoles and handhelds. "This year will be the biggest yet for LEGO videogames with these incredible titles and several firsts for the series," said Tom Stone, Managing Director, TT Games. "TT Games are crafting humorous LEGO adventures, based on new stories and characters across some of the most well-known and iconic worlds." Here's word on both games:

LEGO Jurassic World™
Following the epic storylines of Jurassic Park, The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park III, as well as the highly anticipated Jurassic World, LEGO Jurassic World is the first videogame where players will be able to relive and experience all four Jurassic films. The game will be available in June for the Xbox One all-in-one games and entertainment system; the Xbox 360 games and entertainment system for Microsoft; PlayStation®4 and PlayStation®3 computer entertainment systems; PlayStation®Vita handheld entertainment system; the Wii U™ system from Nintendo; Nintendo 3DS™ hand-held system; and Windows PC.

LEGO Marvel’s Avengers
Avengers Assemble! Experience the first console videogame featuring characters and storylines from the blockbuster film The Avengers and the much anticipated sequel Avengers: Age of Ultron and more . Play as the most powerful super heroes in their quest to save humanity. The game will be available in Fall 2015 for the Xbox One all-in-one games and entertainment system; the Xbox 360 games and entertainment system for Microsoft; PlayStation®4 and PlayStation®3 computer entertainment systems; PlayStation®Vita handheld entertainment system; the Wii U™ system from Nintendo; Nintendo 3DS™ hand-held system; and Windows PC.

Diablo III Brawling May Not Improve

Though PvP dueling was promised for Diablo III, Blizzard later announced it would not be ready for the launch of the action/RPG sequel. The feature was later renamed brawling, and was said to be considered a first pass at this, though at the time they renamed it, they said, "We’ve no further changes planned for brawling at this time," and it has remained basically unchanged since it was released. That was almost two years ago, but a post from a Blizzard community manager on Battle.net Europe comments on the seldom-used barebones PvP mode, restating Blizzard's disinterest in it, suggesting there may never be any more progress on this feature. A machine translation of the post, which was originally in Polish, reads: "At the end remind you that if you want to fight with other players, then of course you can do it on a separate map for some time, we currently do not plan further development skirmish mode." Diablo Fans does note that this has not been stated on the game's North American forums, saying the CMs there tend to have better access to the game's developers. Thanks Blend Games.

OS X DiRT 3 Arrives

DiRT 3 Complete Edition for OS X is now available, allowing Mac gamers to get behind the wheel with the latest installment in Codemasters' rally racing series. Feral Interactive has details on the release, which, as the name implies, includes all the DLC already released for the game on other platforms. There may be reason to wait on this, however, as word is the version of the game coming soon to Steam will include cross-platform multiplayer support with the Windows edition, which is not part of the version currently offered on the Mac App Store. Here's word:

DiRT 3 Complete Edition draws on the greatest cars from over 50 years of rallying to capture the intense thrill of off-road racing. Players can test their speed, skill and nerve in a globe-trotting series of electrifying events as they race to mud-spattered glory in the hazardous world of all-terrain motorsport.

Featuring six high-octane disciplines including Rally, Rallycross and Gymkhana, a freestyle event hosted by rally star and YouTube phenomenon Ken Block, DiRT 3 Complete Edition comes with all the available add-on content, including 18 additional cars and 12 new routes at two locations set at the iconic Monte Carlo region and an X-Games Asia event featuring multi-car Rallycross racing in downtown Tokyo.

The Steam version of DiRT 3 Complete Edition will also offer Mac vs PC online multiplayer for up to eight players, featuring multiplayer versions of all race modes and open-stage party games.

“DiRT 3 Complete Edition combines masterful production values with exhilarating, edge-of-control racing,” said David Stephen, Managing Director of Feral Interactive. “The handling is expertly implemented to give all players a true taste of the messiest motorsport going.”

Steamship Ahoy - Heroes of Might & Magic III – HD Edition

Steam News announces that Heroes of Might & Magic III – HD Edition is now available. Here's word on the HD remake:

Heroes® of Might & Magic® III – HD Edition is Now Available on Steam!

The most popular Heroes® title of all time is back in HD! Fifteen years later, rediscover the epic tale of Queen Catherine Ironfist, as she re-embarks on her critically acclaimed quest to unite her ravaged homeland and re-conquer the kingdom of Erathia.

Forge the destinies of mighty and magical heroes, leading fantastic and ferocious creatures in a game that still stands today as the landmark opus of the Might & Magic: Heroes’ franchise.

Heroes® of Might & Magic® III is a turn-based strategy game, originally released in February 1999.

Morning Patches

Morning Crowdfunding Roundup

Morning Interviews

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

  • Acer XB280HK 4K G-SYNC Monitor on AnandTech.
  • ASUS GeForce GTX 960 DirectCU II OC STRIX 2GB Graphics Card on eTeknix.
  • COUGAR 600K Mechanical Gaming Keyboard on Overclockers Club.
  • COUGAR 600M Black Edition Gaming Mouse on Modders-Inc.
  • Creative Sound Blaster E5 on LAN OC.
  • Cyberpower Infinity Hercules Pro on Vortez.
  • CyberPowerPC Syber Gaming Vapor Steam Machine Alternative on Bjorn3D and TweakTown.
  • ECS LIVA X Mini PC SFF Desktop PC on TweakTown.
  • GIGABYTE G1 Gaming GeForce GTX 960 2GB Graphics Card on eTeknix.
  • GIGABYTE GB-BXi7H-5500 Broadwell BRIX on AnandTech.
  • HyperX Cloud 2 Headset on Bjorn3D.com.
  • Kingston HyperX Cloud II Pro Gaming Headset on Technology X.
  • Linksys WRT1900AC AC1900 Smart Wi-Fi Wireless Router on Nikk Tech.
  • MSI GeForce GTX 960 GAMING High Resolution on HARDOCP.
  • NZXT S340 on ocaholic.
  • Ozone Neon Precision Laser Mouse on pcGameware.
  • Primochill Wet Bench Test Bench Case on PC Perspective.
  • Silverstone DS380 NAS Chassis on eTeknix.
  • Thermalright Macho 90 CPU Cooler on TweakTown.
  • VisionTek 120GB USB 3.0 Pocket SSD Drive on Legit Reviews.


Out of the Blue

I try to be a good citizen when walking the Gunnar-man, including clean-up duties (or doodies). I have two separate rolls of bags, as well as a emergency bags in both my coat and wallet. And yet in spite of this, yesterday I managed to make a horrible mess anyway. As we walked, a full bag slipped from my gloved hand, and I managed to step on it in the process. This worked out perfectly to burst the underside of the bag, leaving my boot protected, but smearing the poop on the sidewalk in a way that could only be cleaned up so much with the tools at hand. I did the best I could, and I can only hope I didn't leave a real hazard behind. Forget the black ice... watch out for brown ice!

Frozen Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: The Sun for the Vampire 2.
4th and Goal 2015.
Story: McDonald's CEO Resigns After a String of Burger Blunders.
Media: UNREAL PARIS - Virtual Tour - Unreal Engine 4.
Sword Fights Movie Montage.
Russian ice fishing doesn't go as planned.
Follow-up: How everyone but the Weather Channel botched the NYC blizzard forecast.
The Complete Guide to Choosing (or Building) the Perfect Standing Desk.
The Funnies: The Prognosis Cartoon - Savage Chickens.

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Wednesday, Jan 28, 2015

Sell Items for Non-Valve Games on Steam Workshop

Valve announces a milestone, saying they have paid out over $50 million to content creators since they launched the Steam Workshop. They are marking the occasion by releasing new tools and adding item creation and sales for games by other developers:

Since the Steam Workshop launched in late 2011 over $50 mil has been paid to the community content creators producing items for Team Fortress 2, Dota 2, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. To celebrate and expand upon this success, Steam content creators now have the ability to create and sell items for non-Valve games. And in addition, a new suite of reporting tools have been introduced that allow content creators to monitor and track the sale of their items in real time.

Fahrenheit: Indigo Prophecy Remastered Tomorrow

The Fahrenheit website announces the availability of Fahrenheit: Indigo Prophecy Remastered, an updated version of Quantic Dream's 2006 action/adventure that was known as Fahrenheit or Indigo Prophecy, depending on the region (thanks NeoGAF via VG247). This is actually premature, as the "buy now" link shows this remake from Aspyr will be released tomorrow for Windows, OS X, Linux, and iOS, with the FAQ stating this is coming to Steam. They offer this trailer to show how the game has been updated, and here's word:

Originally released in 2005, Fahrenheit (known as Indigo Prophecy in North America) was a breakthrough in interactive narrative, teetering between the worlds of cinema and gaming while also embracing them, carving its own unique genre in the entertainment landscape. This newly remastered edition features updated graphics, full controller support and is based on the uncut/uncensored international version of the game.

Continue here to read the full story.

Hearthstone Undertaker Card Nerf

A post on Battle.net announces plans to nerf the Undertaker card in Hearthstone. Here's word:

After the release of Goblins vs Gnomes, we kept an eye on the state of game balance as more matches were played with the new cards we introduced to Hearthstone. After careful consideration we have decided to make a balance change to the card Undertaker.

The following balance change will be made in an upcoming patch:

Undertaker now reads: Whenever you summon a minion with Deathrattle, gain +1 Attack.

  • Undertaker was frustrating to play against. It often gained both Attack and Health stats significantly above those of other inexpensive minions very early in the game. With this change, we expect Undertaker will still be better than other 1-Mana minions when played in a deck with a Deathrattle theme, but more likely to die in combat against other minions.

The golden version of Undertaker can be disenchanted for its full cost for a limited time once this balance change goes live.

We will continue to make balance changes to Hearthstone when we feel they are necessary in order to increase the variety of cards seen at all levels of play, with the goal of making Hearthstone a more fun and interactive game for everyone.

Free League of Legends Soundtrack

The League of Legends website now offers volume one of the soundtrack from ArenNet's MOBA hit as a free download. Word is: "Experience moments woven within the League of Legends universe through soaring scores and victorious anthems. Listen as 15 new and classic League tracks come together for the first time beyond the game. This is the Music of League." Thanks Massively.

On Sale

  • Space Hits on GOG.com. Save up to 80%.
  • Starbound on Steam. Save 25%.

Evening Patches

Evening Interviews

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

Into the Black

Star Citizen Persistent Universe Presentation; Funding Hits $71M

The Stretch Goals page on the Roberts Space Industries website shows Star Citizen has now attracted more than $71 million in crowdfunding for Cloud Imperium's upcoming space game, though they have not posted any stretch goals past the $65 million mark, and there's no accompanying letter from the chairman at this time. What is new is a Persistent Universe "town hall" video presentation recapping a live session at PAX South. Word is: "Watch as the Chairman, Tony Zurovec, and Mark Skelton outline the future of the Persistent Universe! This presentation was recorded live during the Town Hall at PAX South. We thank backers who where in attendance and are eager to share our vision with the rest of our community." Continue here to read the full story.

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel Hotfix

Gearbox Software Support announces a hotfix is now available for Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, addressing the recently identified issue using The Grinder after the most recent patch for the action/RPG inbetweenquel. That post has been updated with the following: "January 28th note: There is currently a hot-fix in place as a temporary solution until the fix can be made permanent in the next major update."

Far Cry 4 Key Revocation Follow-ups

Ubisoft has commented further on their recent revocation of Far Cry 4 game keys, which they said at the time were fraudulently obtained. In a statement on Eurogamer.net they explain these keys were purchased illegally through Origin: "In this case, we confirmed activation keys were recently purchased from EA's Origin store using fraudulent credit card information and then resold online. These keys may have been deactivated. Customers who may have been impacted should contact the vendor where they purchased the key for a refund." They also have a statement from a representative of game key vendor Kinguin about the situation, which is similar to this recent statement from them on GameInformer.com (thanks Cutter):

A representative tells us that the storefront has “one of the lowest fraud rates in the industry.” The company says that all sellers go through a vetting process and the site offers a “100 percent Buyer Protection” guarantee.

“The current case raised by Ubisoft is surely unfair towards the players. The banned game copies in question were acquired through licensed wholesale distributors and as such the origin of the ‘keys’ is the publisher himself,” Kinguin chief marketing officer Bartłomiej Skarbiński told us via email. “From the gamer point of view its like going out to the store, purchasing a copy of the game, taking it home and suddenly a knock-knock on the door with Ubisoft representative taking the copy away - not even asking you as a paying customer to return it.”

Skarbiński questions whether the publisher had the right to deactivate the keys. “We believe Ubisoft had no legal basis for its action,” he tells us. “They did it just because they simply can. Kinguin of course is not going to challenge Ubisoft in court as we are not match up for these giants. We will continue to focus on customer's satisfaction and our customers know we have never let them down.”

To End All Wars: Breaking the Deadlock Announced

Matrix Games announces To End All Wars: Breaking the Deadlock, an expansion coming to To End All Wars, the World War I turn-based strategy game, saying a beta should commence on February 24th. This will include five new scenarios, and as the title implies, will offer a chance to break the stalemates in the trenches. Here's a bit:

As the advancing central powers got bogged down across Europe and the troops were digging in to their trenches, a stalemate formed and the hopes of a quick victory were dashed on both sides. When all was quiet on the western front however, both the Central Powers and the Entente kept looking for opportunities gain the advantage elsewhere. Seeking out new allies in the Balkan region, launching campaigns in the Middle-East and aiming for breakthroughs on many different fronts. All this was done with only one goal in mind: Breaking the Deadlock.

To End All Wars: Breaking the Deadlock is the first expansion to the most detailed World War One wargame ever created. Adding 5 completely new scenarios, this expansion aims to vastly increase the content in-game, giving players the option to focus on specific campaigns in Italy, the Balkans and even the Middle-East. In addition, the expansion also allows for the grand campaign to be started in 1916, allowing him to seek out his own opportunities to overcome the stalemate and win the War to End all Wars.

Diablo III Season 1 Ends Next Week (Probably)

A post on Battle.net from Blizzard discusses the upcoming conclusion to season one in Diablo III, and discusses the process of rolling over seasonal content into player's main non-seasonal accounts, and the procedure for launching season two. They still leave open the possibility the plan will change, but they are trying to commit to a February 3rd end date for season one, saying: "The earliest the Season will end is February 3, 2015. While it's possible this date may shift, we will do our utmost to adhere to it. If any scheduling changes occur, we will be sure to provide an update."

Morning Patches

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Previews

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews


Out of the Blue

I want to thank Jon Stewart and The Daily Show for expanding on my comments about the "storm" yesterday with a piece on Blizzapocalypsegeddon '15. The advance hype for the non-storm can be justified, but the aftermath where they tried to keep up the pretense that something actually happened was ridiculous, so again, hats off to TDS for the reality check, with bonus points for calling out idiot reporters (or in this case, *the* idiot reporter) for driving around broadcasting live from the streets that they had just warned us were life-threatening.

Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Iron Knight.
Royal Protectors.
3 Pandas in Japan.
Link: 6 Video Game Easter Eggs Developers Didn't Want You to Find.
Story: Chris Pratt Eyed For Indiana Jones Revival AT Disney.
Science: How America got addicted to road salt — and why it's a problem.
Moray eels attack with second pair of ‘Alien-style’ jaws (old). Thanks j.c.f.
Media: The Tesla P85D Has Something Called 'Insane Mode.' Thanks nin.
Skittles Marshawn Lynch Press Conference.
FUBAR Hunting.
Auctions: GTAV Bravado Banshee by Rockstar and West Coast Customs. Thanks HARDOCP.
Follow-up: Snowstorm’s Forecast Was Mostly Right, Even if It Felt Wrong in New York. Thanks j.c.f.

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